Friday, 10 May 2013

The Servant Trap

Trapped Being born in a country that is categorized to be a developing third-world nation, it is amusing to find the ‘poor’ of Pakistan live more aristocratic lives than many in the developed lands. I refer to the state of servant exploitation in Pakistan. Availability of cheap labour is the primary driving force for this cultural distinction. As a consequence, while citizens of most developed countries are self-sufficient and independent on a daily life basis, Pakistan – a world in its own – has become inseparably reliant on labour to carry out simple daily household chores.

The debauched mindset in Pakistan is to underscore the glaring difference between the different financial classes in society, and subsequently, hiring labour for middle class and upper class households from the lower class is exploitative. I say ‘exploitative’ because seldom do such employers take into account minimum wage requirements that the government fondly expects employers to impartially meet. More even so, some people consider that when they are compensating for someone’s services, it is equivalent to purchasing that human being in totality. The employers assume that they automatically get the unrestrained right to stretch their employees to the utmost to maximize potential net gains.

Some people prefer to employ children to carry out their household tasks as it is less expensive and easier to manage children with lesser grievance tales for the employers to listen to everyday. The tender years of childhood are for laughter and play. Forlornly, children who are born into financially distressed families are forced to do physical work that is nowhere appropriate for their innocent ages and feeble physical strengths. Wonder what the young growing minds gather when they work in houses of their age-mates who are several financial tiers above them. It would be quite testing for them to see the elite kiddos get everything that they place a finger on while the not-so-fortunate children continue to dust cobwebs and mop floors. So much for basic human rights.

The West might be alleged of consuming unhealthy foods, but I believe they still have a healthier lifestyle than the nawabs of Pakistan. With the same twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week and fifty-two weeks in a year, the western world has raised kids and worked inside and outside the house without any additional helping hands. Meanwhile, Pakistanis have woven for themselves a lavish lifestyle with servants running around to fulfil the commands of the dictators. Sadly, this dependence on ‘external help’ to fulfil one’s own household responsibilities has diffused a sluggish attitude across the Pakistani community. Our diminishing indulgence in household chores is making us less active overall and increasing concerns of ill-health.

On the other hand, in this vicious dependency game, servants are tactfully acquiring their stranglehold on houses, sometimes more than the owners themselves. Since they have been handed over the responsibility to take care of household chores like cleaning the house, managing the kitchen, doing the laundry, and so on, they know the working of the house inside out. They know where things are placed, what stock has depleted, and how things get done. Assessing the significant role that they play in the household, servants tend to coerce their employers to accede to their requests and get petty favours. Consequently, the hiring authorities feel appalled with all the stress that they end up consuming at the expense of getting their daily chores done.

People complain about how servants rule their lives more than providing a service and how they would love to just live on their own, but never really do. Meanwhile, the distressed labour class has limited options to earn finances from, given their adversity and low skill set. So much for the whining employers and employees, both are still entangled in a nasty mesh of unremitting dependency.

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